Four American Veterans, including Raymond Earl Knaeble IV, recently found themselves on the government’s no-fly list. They have joined with nine others to sue the government. The veterans’ and other individuals’ claim is that being included on the no-fly list deprives them of due process rights.
The no-fly list determines who is barred from flying into or out of U.S. airports. The Associated Press reported in 2012 that the fed no-fly list had skyrocketed to about 21,000 people; which included about 500 Americans. Besides just being used for planes, the no-fly list is also shared with ship captains and 22 other countries.
While he served in the Army, the military had no problem allowing Raymond Earl Knaeble IV to ride in planes. it was only when Knaeble attempted to fly home from Columbia after he was married in 2010, that he learned that he was on the no-fly list. He was not allowed to get on the plane. Instead, he had to make his way back to the United States mostly by bus. During his trip back, Knaeble also face the risk of being arrested, according to CNN, since his trip took longer than planned and his authorization to stay in Columbia had expired.
Knaeble was not told by the FBI specifically why he had made the no-fly list, but Knaeble believes it is because of his conversion to Islam in 2008.
Problems similar to Knaeble’s are not uncommon, according to the other plaintiffs. They claim that being on the no-fly list makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to travel with their families, attend school, and conduct business trips.
The plaintiffs, according to Fox News, are being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU. The ACLU has said that the process the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, which makes and controls the no-fly list, is unconstitutional since those on the list have no way of learning what got them on the no-fly list to begin with, as well as no way of confronting the issue of being on it.
The thirteen Americans involved in the pending lawsuit had been barred from boarding domestic flights, or planes leaving or bound for the U.S. between June 2009 and November 2012.
The lawsuit was originally filed in 2010 when it moved between district and appellate courts before the ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided last summer to put the lawsuit under U.S. District Judge Anna Brown’s jurisdiction. Brown ordered the government’s attorneys to make it known how the no-fly list is formed and how anyone on the list can challenge whatever evidence was given to get them on the no-fly list to begin with.
The government’s attorneys, however, are not spilling the beans. Their claim is that a person’s right to a hearing about his or her no-fly list status is limited because of national security issues.
In the meantime, Army veteran Knaeble, his fellow veterans and nine others remain grounded and on the no-fly list, despite the fact that they do not know how the got on it to begin with.